The public murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, just outside the Woolwich Barracks, is a tragedy for both his family and everyone who believes in good, the rule of law and a shared humanity.  Some passers-by seemed oblivious that anything was going on and others took out their mobile phones and started to film.  It is to be hoped that their filming was motivated by a desire to help provide evidence against the murderers. At one point it is estimated that up to sixty people were watching the enfolding tragedy


Ingrid Loyau-Kennett also saw what was going on from the window of a passing bus. When she saw what she thought was a road accident she leapt out to offer her first aid skills.  As she tried to take Drummer Rigby’s pulse she found herself facing a man clutching a bloodied revolver and meat cleaver.  Her mild approach in speech and manner calmed him down and the two of them quietly waited for the police to arrive.


Many of us wonder if we would be capable of doing the right thing in a difficult situation.  Mrs Loyau-Kennett commented that her Christian faith, with its command to care for your neighbour, helped motivate her.   Clearly people of deep faith and sometimes no faith do incredible things to help others.


Nevertheless Christians do have a distinctive response to the problem of pain and suffering.  Mrs Loyau-Kennett wears a small cross round her neck, which is, first of all, a reminder that at the heart of our faith is the belief that Jesus was innocent of any wrong doing. Jesus was a scapegoat for the frustrations of others. In life bad things often to happen to people who don’t deserve it.


 Secondly crucifixion is a grim and awful way to die. The fact that God went through with it is a reminder that He knows everything there is to know about pain, cruelty and abandonment. It also means that even if we would rather not be in a dreadful situation we know that God has been there too.


Thirdly Christ showed love on the cross right to the end and used the crucifixion so that He might take on the bully of death and win the Easter victory of new life for us.  This should give us hope, since the cross is the bridge to new life


‘In this sign conquer’ is the motto, engraved around the cross worn by members of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department No doubt the padres have been busy dealing with the painful aftermath of Drummer Rigby’s death.  They can’t take away the pain and the grief, but their faith in the cross should help them both to offer some sort of framework to comprehend it and some hope.


The cross also reminds us that following Christ can be pretty demanding.  Whenever there is a tragedy our job, as Christians, is, like Jesus, to pour into it as much love as we are able. Ingrid Loyau-Kennett did just that as she stopped to help.


Father Michael

Posted By: valerie

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